Hello everyone, good to see you. I thought I would bore you all with my take on recent events of Saturday the 8th of June and a brilliant day at Crewe.
Jamie has covered it from a Railcam perspective and giving you the ‘inside view’ but why not a personal take on things from a point of view of both a Railcam admin and enthusiast. So here goes….
From the moment it was announced I wanted to go to the ‘All Change’ charity open day at Crewe. Thankfully I had the money in the bank for the tickets at the time, so very glad I did! I won’t give you a minute-by-minute account haha but it’s best for the way I’ll be able to remember if I do it as chronologically as I can.
The plan was to get breakfast first…that went out the window when I woke up…I just wanted to get there. Messaged ahead to see if there were food stalls…affirmative…decision made…let’s go and join the queue to get in. The ladies and gentlemen did a great job of keeping everyone informed and then keeping everyone moving really quickly and letting us in. I was trying to hide it but I was so damn excited. I don’t get to go to many of these things, we never have any here in Scotland, so this was a special thing for me. I’d read about and seen pictures of many many open days of the past and always hoped I’d be able to experience one…now was that time. I had been to a DRS charity day at Kingmoor a couple of years ago and I promise absolutely no disrespect at all but of course it was all the same companies’ locos, I loved every second of that day, this event was different however…obviously.
So we got on site and in among it all very quickly with a lot of smiles and cheeriness, which is a testament to the character of those involved because I know they would’ve all been knackered from being up so early and putting a lot of hours in leading up to the day itself. 45231 Sherwood Forester and 34046 Braunton greeted us on the left straight after the gates and then a pair of East Midlands Trains HST power cars 43423/43048, followed by 67006 Royal Messenger, Freightliner 66503 The Railway Magazine and 70000 Britannia (which was in steam…looking, sounding and smelling great…providing a little heat too which was most welcome.
Had this beautiful machine to look at while I had my bacon rolls for breakfast (2 lol).
I then made my way to the shed behind the food stalls to go and say hello to my brilliant friends and colleagues from Railcam. I’d only been on site for about 20 minutes but already the stall was busy with passers by stopping to see what we offered.
So I hung around for a while and me being me, got talking to folk and went in to salesman/customer service mode haha. But enough about RC, in the nicest way…our Jamie has covered a lot of what we did on Saturday. This particular shed was rammed! Both with visitors…and locos/trains. The highlights of this particular shed were 08737, 50050 and 121034. The 08 because I simply love them to bits, the 121 because it was just simply gorgeous and reminded me of my childhood, and the 50 because I think I’ve only seen one ‘for real’ twice before. You know what?…I would’ve been happy with just this single shed! I hadn’t even noticed that in front of this shed were 20’s, a 73, 37, 08 and a 55.
‘Fearless’ looking stunning.
Before it gets to just being a big list of what was there, I’ll just say that there was all of that, twice over. The shed next door was nose to tail not just in locos…but a whole test train and a unit for crying out loud! It took a lot longer than I anticipated to get around everything. There was steam, diesel of all varieties old and new, electric of old and new…even traction engines…and a few classic cars. For me the thing about these days isn’t the fact that there was lots and lots of stuff there…it’s the fact that you get to get close to the bits you never do…the wheels and the rails. You get to appreciate how even the smallest of locos are still massive. I can’t speak for everyone but I think a lot us take our trains and locos for granted, I know I do sometimes, and these days remind me of how amazing, powerful and brilliant these pieces of engineering are. Whatever your favourite, they are all amazing, the difference in their technology doesn’t mean they’re any less than others. They all do the same thing that we love so much…pull trains, push trains, make hair-raising noises, look great (in the eye of the beholder) and bring enjoyment to so many people.
There’s something quite special about being in among the bogies…the oil and grease and flaky paint and dirt and dust and rust and springs and wheels. Seeing all the different designs to deliver the same end result. You don’t often get to walk on the ballast.
As you can see from some shots, it was a damp and grey day. However this didn’t deter or get anyone down from what I saw and heard…there was a few grumbles in and around the tightest areas for space…but in general there were hundreds of smiles, lots and lots of laughter, excited conversations from all generations and thousands of ‘wow’s and ‘look at that!’s, people rushing about, kids pulling at their parents’ arms to get to their favourites…it drizzled, it rained a wee bit heavier than that, there wasn’t the massive downpours and raging winds that had been predicted…but it didn’t put anyone off, there were crowds around everything there (even the 70’s…sorry, had to hehe) , I think even if it had snowed, the atmosphere would have been the same. I don’t know about anyone else but nothing was going to spoil the day for me. I was in my own train-loving heaven. It was worth 2 or 3 times what I paid for my ticket. It may look like I took a fair few photos but these above, with the exception of the Britannia shots were just snapped with my phone as I walked around. I had planned to take hundreds of shots with the big camera but I found myself putting it away and simply living in the moment, giving myself time to stop and appreciate the whole thing, the atmosphere, the locos, the effort, the scale.
Perhaps my view is skewed by the fact that this was my first ‘proper’ open day, what some would say was an ‘old school’ open day, and I’m a raving lunatic enthusiast but I genuinely loved every second of being there. It was great to see my friends again. To meet friends for the first time too. For others to put a face to my name (poor them) and to make new friends.
I left feeling very happy and content, if a little damp haha.
A massive thank you to all who made this day happen. It was a very special day. The planning and delivery of these things must be huge and stressful but hopefully ultimately satisfying and rewarding having pulled off such a feat of excellence. To you all…you’re amazing, thank you so very very much….if you can ever do it again…
Until next time, take care everyone